The Bible says that the Commandments were preserved by the Israelites in a wooden chest covered with gold, the Ark of the Covenant. The chest may also contain the rod of Aaron (which famously turned into a snake before the Pharaoh’s eyes) and a pot of manna (believed to be food provided by heaven for the Israelites to survive on while wandering around in the desert).

The Ark of the Covenant was a sacred chest made by the ancient Israelites according to the command and design of God. It was made of acacia wood and was overlaid inside and out with pure gold, with an artistic border.

The Ark measured 2.5 cubits long, 1.5 cubits wide, and 1.5 cubits high (111 x 67 x 67 cm; 44 x 26 x 26 in.). Bezalel made the Ark of acacia wood and attached four gold rings to its four feet, two rings on each side.

The Ark of the Covenant was undoubtedly the most holy piece of furniture ever made, if it can be referred to as such. It consisted of a rectangular chest made of shittim wood and covered over with gold. The word Ark, Aron in Hebrew, means merely a chest and has been translated as 'coffin' in Gen. 50.26. God had commanded Moses to make the Ark of the Covenant (Ex. 25.10-22) and inside it Moses placed the two tables of the law. Later on, Aaron's rod that budded was placed in it (Num. 17.10), together with the golden pot that had the manna (Ex. 16.33, Heb. 9.4).

The mercy seat was a kind of lid which closed the chest from above. It was made of pure gold and was held in place by a golden ridge or crown. Beaten out of this mercy seat were two cherubim, which with their wings overshadowed the mercy seat. They were beaten out of the same piece of pure gold as the mercy seat.

The Ark was made in Sinai by Bezaleel ben Uri, whose name appropriately means, "In the Shadow of El (God), the Son of my Light." After a long journey it was placed eventually in the Holy of Holies of Solomon's Temple. It was this former location of the Ark of the Covenant which I believe to have found.

A representation of the Ark of the Covennant

So many researchers have proposed different locations for the Temple and/or for the Ark of the Covenant without having followed a suitable methodology to substantiate their conclusions. This researcher believes that the location of the Temple can only be found when the historical and archaeological development of the present-day Temple Mount has first been analysed. It is always best to begin with the known elements, which in this case are the outer walls of the Temple Mount . Relying on the archaeological data and the information contained in the historical sources, the research then began looking at remains within the Temple area itself.

After having established the location of the pre-Herodian square Temple Mount, the historical sources, notably the Mishnah, led us to look for the location of the Temple on or near es-Sakhra, the rocky mountain top which is visible inside the Dome of the Rock. This rock has never been properly examined and so the analysis of this prime piece of archaeological evidence had to be carried out. Not only were the negative impressions of the Temple walls discovered, but also the former location of the Ark of the Covenant. As the measurements given in Middot were found to be very accurate, the location of the Temple Courts and the Altar could also be accurately calculated.

But let us begin at the beginning and briefly go over the stages of the research which led to our latest conclusions.

Ron Wyatt, an amateur researcher, adventurer, and Seventh Day Adventist, believes he found the Ark buried under the remains of the old city of Jerusalem. Indeed, his version says that the Ark of the Covenant was situated exactly beneath the spot where Jesus of Nazareth was crucified.

‘The transfer of the ark by the singing and dancing King David.’

‘The transfer of the ark by the singing and dancing King David.’ ( public domain )

Hidden in an Underground Chamber
Since escaping Egypt and settling in the promised land, the Ark was kept in the Holy Temple, also known as Solomon’s Temple. 600 years before Jesus’ death, the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar invaded and destroyed much of Jerusalem, including the Temple. It is at this moment in time that the Ark becomes lost to history. When the Babylonians began their attack, they built a huge Siege Wall around the city so that nobody could get in or out. In response, the Israelites built many tunnels so that they could move about the city without causing alarm. Many of these tunnels still exist today and ancient artifacts have been found in some before. Wyatt argues that the Ark of the Covenant, the most sacred Jewish artifact, was hidden in an underground chamber, which was then sealed and forgotten.

An illustration of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem.

An illustration of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. ( CC by SA 4.0 )

Prophecy – Commandments to be Revealed
In 1901, a woman by the name of Ellen G. White made the following prophecy:

“And He [Christ] gave unto Moses, when He had made an end of communing with him upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God. Nothing written on those tables could be blotted out. The precious record of the law was placed in the ark of the testament and is still there, safely hidden from the human family. But in God’s appointed time He will bring forth these tables of† stone to be a testimony to all the world against the disregard of His commandments and against the idolatrous worship of a counterfeit Sabbath.” (White quoted in Covenant Keepers, 2016).

Students of the Bible, such as Mr. Wyatt, believe that “the Lord God does nothing, without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). Ms. White’s prophecy, made 81 years before Wyatt’s discovery in 1982, was thus believed by Wyatt to be the foretelling of the miraculous unearthing of the Ark.

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Moses holding the tablets of the law (1659) by Rembrandt.

Moses holding the tablets of the law (1659) by Rembrandt. ( public domain )

Wyatt’s Excavations
Ron Wyatt reported that the first find of the excavation was an altar stone protruding from the cliff face, which was believed to be the remnants of an early Christian Church, constructed perhaps in the first century AD. Wyatt said that this suggests “that the early Christians knew that this was a place of significance” (Covenant Keepers, 2016). Further exploration of the area unveiled four holes cut out of the stone. These were believed to the have been the stand posts of the wooden crosses used for Roman crucifixion. (The site where Jesus was crucified witnessed many other deaths, both before and after his.)

 One hole was slightly more elevated than the others. This would be the location of the day’s featured criminal, an honor most certainly given to Jesus on the day of his crucifixion beside two common robbers. “A square cut stone had been placed in the cross hole, acting as a plug. It had finger grips on each side, and when Ron Wyatt removed it he noticed a large crack in the bedrock, extending from the cross hole” (Covenant Keepers, 2016). According to Wyatt, this is the exact spot that Matthew spoke of when he said that the rocks did rent with sorrow over Jesus’ death.

Ark of the Covenant Found?
Wyatt and his team dug on, eventually stumbling upon a network of ancient caves. It is in one of these that he said he discovered the Ark. He describes his discovery in a 1999 interview with AnchorStone International, made shortly before his death from cancer.

“Once we found that place, I knew that, well basically, that I needed to get inside that escarpment, because there were several indications that it was just a system of tunnels and chambers, and that I needed to, basically, just go chamber by chamber, tunnel by tunnel, and whatever, systematically go through there, until I found the Ark of the Covenant, or until I didn’t find it. And so, anyway, we found it on January 6th, 1982 at approximately 2 o’clock in the afternoon. And so, when I found it, it was in a situation that I had not anticipated or expected, that was that it was in a chamber that was totally filled with what appeared to be debris. And what turned out to be a bunch of materials of furnishings of the first temple, covered first by animal skins, then that covered by boards, and then these covered by stone, just whatever they could get their hands on, looked like. It looked like it had been done in a hurry, looked like they just grabbed everything, whatever they could get to fill the place, and I was still a little fuzzy on why that would be done, but I don’t see that I need to know everything. When God does something I just know it’s done perfectly, so.” (Wyatt Interview, 1999).

The Mithraic Mysteries and the underground chamber of San Clemente
The Legendary Emerald Tablet

While examining the cavern, Wyatt noticed a strange black substance dried in a crack in the chamber’s ceiling. The crack was situated right above the Ark and it seemed like some of the black substance had even dripped onto the chest’s outer stone casing. “When Christ died, the earth quaked. The rock was split right below His cross and this crevice extended right down into the hidden chamber which contained the undefiled ‘earthly’ Throne of God — the Ark with its Mercy Seat,” wrote Wyatt in one of his research letters. “After He was dead, when the centurion stuck his spear into Christ’s side and pierced His spleen, the blood and water came out, falling down through that crack and was sprinkled on the Mercy Seat.” (The Pulpit, 2008). If this is true, the act of dripping blood and water onto the Ark of the Covenant would have paralleled the blood and water sprinkled onto the Commandments by Moses to sanctify God’s covenant with Israelites (Hebrew 9:19).

Wyatt claimed that divine interference prevented any of the pictures or videos he took of the Ark to show. Upon returning to the site to gather further evidence it is said that, “Four angels stood before him and he was told that the time is not yet for the world to see this discovery with their own eyes, but the time is coming when the inhabitants of the world will have a universal, religious law enforced upon them” (Covenant Keepers, 2016).

An artist’s illustration of what Ron Wyatt described that he saw.

An artist’s illustration of what Ron Wyatt described that he saw. ( Wyatt Archaeological Research )

Wyatt’s Claims
The Ark of the Covenant is not the only startling discovery that Ron Wyatt claims to have made. Among more than 100 Biblical-related discoveries, Wyatt said he found Noah’s Ark, anchor stones used by Noah, his post-flood house, tombs of Noah and his wife, the Tower of Babel site, the site of the Crucifixion of Jesus, and the blood of Jesus in an earthquake crack, which he said had 24 chromosomes instead of 46.

His discoveries have been dismissed by scientists, historians, biblical scholars, other Creationists and by leaders in his own Seventh-day Adventist Church, but his work continues to have a following and has been preserved by Wyatt Archaeological Research (W.A.R).